Protest-hit Due to governmental changes, Israel may organise a nationwide strike.March 27, 2023
The hard-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced more protests and calls for a general strike Monday against its controversial push to overhaul the justice system. Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David called a general strike to protest against the proposed changes, which would weaken the powers of the judiciary and which demonstrators have decried as a threat to Israeli liberal democracy. The Israel Medical Association quickly followed suit, also announcing "a full strike in the health system" that will impact all public hospitals. Netanyahu was expected to address the nation later Monday, with speculation in Israeli media that he could pause the judicial reforms. President Isaac Herzog again urged an immediate stop to the reform package "for the sake of the unity of the people of Israel". Yoav Gallant, the former defence minister and staunch ally of Netanyahu, earlier called for a halt to the reforms -- with lawmakers scheduled to vote this week on a central part of the proposals, which would change the way judges are appointed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked Gallant, a former general, on Sunday, sparking protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Protesters seized a central highway in Tel Aviv, blocking traffic and burning tyres, while police deployed water cannon. In Jerusalem, demonstrators gathered outside the prime minister's residence, while others rallied in the northern city of Haifa and Beer Sheva in the south. The activist movement has announced a "national paralysis week", including protests outside ministers' homes and parliament. Two other Likud lawmakers have voiced support for Gallant, raising questions over whether the government could count on a majority if it pushes ahead with a vote.
Netanyahu is on trial over charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and his broadcast gave rise to contempt of court accusations filed with the Supreme Court by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, an anti-corruption campaign group. The group's complaint alleges Netanyahu violated a court ruling that an accused prime minister does not have the right to act in a matter that could constitute a conflict of interest. The opposition has ruled out backing any part of the reform package now.